Monday night was special, for the town of Peterson that is. If you're not from Peterson you probably went about your Monday night, business as usual. But for those who have been blessed by the service of the Hind's family it wasn't business as usual, it was so much more. Cars lined both sides of the street and every available spec of pavement in the small parking lot was taken. People had come to say thank you.
My dad called me at work the Friday before. We talked and laughed and at some point he asked if I had heard the news. I told him he'd have to be a little more specific and he mentioned that the Hind's family had sold the store and that he had met the new owner that morning. Well, neither he nor I was prepared for the emotion that I experienced at hearing the news: I began to cry – then laugh, then cry some more. We both laughed at the fact that I was crying and all those around me at work wondered what possibly could have happened. It was humorous to consider telling them that I was crying because the corner store from my hometown had traded owners – they would think I was insane, and in fact, most of them did. That didn't matter to me however, because Hind's Quick Stop is more than your normal gas station.
For twenty-seven years the Hind's family had opened their doors - to locals and traveler alike – but more importantly they had opened their hearts. It wasn't just a place to fill your car with gas, get soda and candy or even just for that last minute grocery item that you had forgotten to purchase and that dinner couldn't do without; It was the first place that you ever got to go to on your own to purchase penny candies when they really were only a penny, it was the summer hang out where you met friends for ice cream and a hot dog, it was where your ten year old self learned to pump gas into a can and before going home to finish mowing the lawn telling Debbie or Sandra to charge it because your dad would pay it later, it was the place where on any given day you could walk into the shop and find five or six men from the community sittin' around talking about the good 'ol days and staying until closing time.
You could always find a listening ear and someone who cared about you in anyone from the Hinds family. We weren't just their customers; we were their friends and neighbors. That is what made Monday night all the more special. The Hinds family finally got to see the impact that they made on the lives of so many. Tears and smiles flowed, as the usual ring of the door became all the more incessant. It was wall-to-wall people and moving through was slow and cramped but no one seemed to mind. There was a sense of love and community that was palpable. Gratitude and a little awe is what I noticed in the eyes of those I passed that night. Gratitude for the love and service the Hinds family had always shared and awe in the fact that the love so freely given was individually felt by so many. Somehow I had always felt uniquely valued by the Hinds family but Monday I realized that so did most everyone else.
Hinds Quick Stop has always been the heart of Peterson and it will continue to be but at least for me, without all of the Hinds family, it won't be as bright.